G C Lichtenberg: “It is as if our languages were confounded: when we want a thought, they bring us a word; when we ask for a word, they give us a dash; and when we expect a dash, there comes a piece of bawdy.”

H. P. Lovecraft: "What a man does for pay is of little significance. What he is, as a sensitive instrument responsive to the world's beauty, is everything!"

Martin Amis: “Gogol is funny, Tolstoy in his merciless clarity is funny, and Dostoyevsky, funnily enough, is very funny indeed; moreover, the final generation of Russian literature, before it was destroyed by Lenin and Stalin, remained emphatically comic — Bunin, Bely, Bulgakov, Zamyatin. The novel is comic because life is comic (until the inevitable tragedy of the fifth act);...”

Werner Herzog: “We are surrounded by worn-out, banal, useless and exhausted images, limping and dragging themselves behind the rest of our cultural evolution.”

John Gray: "Unlike Schopenhauer, who lamented the human lot, Leopardi believed that the best response to life is laughter. What fascinated Schopenhauer, along with many later writers, was Leopardi’s insistence that illusion is necessary to human happiness."

Justin E.H. Smith: “One should of course take seriously serious efforts to improve society. But when these efforts fail, in whole or in part, it is only humor that offers redemption. So far, human expectations have always been strained, and have always come, give or take a bit, to nothing. In this respect reality itself has the form of a joke, and humor the force of truth.”

विलास सारंग: "… . . 1000 नंतर ज्या प्रकारची संस्कृती रुढ झाली , त्यामध्ये साधारणत्व विश्वात्मकता हे गुण प्राय: लुप्त झाले...आपली संस्कृती अकाली विश्वात्मक साधारणतेला मुकली आहे."

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

For Just Kicking Dust or the Sheer Joy of it?

For all the wrong reasons, Indian cricket seems to be in the news (this week- "Graham Ford on Monday announced that he has declined an offer to coach the Indian cricket team"). I wonder if we have long forgot the joy of cricket. Times of India covers the game on front page and sports page. I wonder if they realize cricket should also make it to “The Speaking Tree” –its column on spiritual matters.

Sample this:

“……It said a great deal for Smith that he did not allow the misfortune to throw him off balance. Bowling more carefully, he delivered the rest of the over to the order. Five balls went down, each of them swinging into the batsman. Three of them Troughton was able to leave alone, as they swung across his body and down the leg side, making Deacon leap and stretch to stop them from going for byes. True, Troughton played carefully, once going right up on his toes to bring the ball down on to the pitch in front of him with the straightest of the bats, dropping his wrists and slackening the fingers round the bat handle. The seventh, aimed straight at the middle stump had Troughton driving across the line trying to work it away to mid-wicket. It moved off the pitch again, but this time in the other direction, touching the outside edge of the bat as it went and winging its way chest high to Gauvinier at first slip- a straightforward, finger-tingling slip catch. He flung the ball high in delight- for himself, for Norman, for the ball, for the catch, for the score and for the sheer joy of cricket”
(John ParkerThe Village Cricket Match”(1977) from cricket anthology “The Joy of Cricket” Selected and Edited by John Bright-Holmes)

During world cup 2007, Ian Chappell was asked why cricketers throw up the ball when they catch it (because few mess it up by dropping it in the process!). Person as erudite as Chappell could not quite answer it. He should have just said – “for the sheer joy of cricket!”.

Or read this Browning-ian envoi

“…Time stood still in a distillation of delight. People and place and circumstances gave visual representation of a meaning, a conception, an ideal. Cricket was itself again and all was well with my world” (From “Thanks to Cricket” (1972) by J M Kilburn)

Are we still capable of enjoying these subtle almost spiritual features of cricket or we just enjoy “kicking dust”?

Cricket resembles more and more to Hindi cinema: a lot of "kicking dust" about its personalities and very little about its quality of music, acting, story, direction, dialogues, songs etc.

“Calvin and Hobbes” by Bill Watterson printed Asian Age June 13, 2007